In Iceland, the retail cycle each year, from the launch of new books to the reading of these books at Christmas, is known as Jólabókaflóðið, which translates roughly into English as ‘the Christmas book flood’.
This holiday is a time to buy loads of books to give to friends and family. It started when Iceland gained independence from Denmark during World War II. Unlike other commodities, paper and paper goods were still available and therefore became the perfect gift to give to loved ones during this time.
Since then, Bókatíðindi, a book catalogue, has been sent to every home at the same time as the Reykjavik Book Fair in November. With this catalogue, people can order books and have them ready by the time the holiday comes around.
During the festive season, gifts are opened on 24 December and, by tradition, everyone reads the books they have been given straight away, often while drinking hot chocolate or alcohol-free Christmas ale called jólabland.Find out more